Monthly Archives: March 2015

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

2015-03-17 17.30.58 I didn’t have much planned for our St. Patrick’s Day celebration, just a typical Irish-type dinner with Irish Soda Bread and a Potato Leek Soup, but as I was finishing dinner prep I thought it’d be fun to try a mint ice cream, which I’d been wanting to try for awhile. I didn’t have any heavy cream on hand and I didn’t want to use food coloring, so I thought I’d try coloring it with spinach since spinach is such a mild flavor, and I decided to substitute canned coconut milk, which is also thick and creamy, and almond milk for the normally used heavy cream and cows milk. I used the Thai Kitchen canned coconut milk, full fat, so don’t get the one that says ‘lite’. Also, if you use another brand, when deciding which kind to get, give the can a little shake. If you hear liquid sloshing around it means that’s a great one for sauces, but not for ice cream in your ice cream maker (if you are going to freeze it for awhile before you eat it then it doesn’t really matter because it’ll turn solid). The sloshing around most likely means the manufacturer used coconut cream instead of just plain coconut; you can even double check that on the ingredient label.

I used pure maple syrup as the sweetener instead of sugar, which we also use in our vanilla ice cream recipe. The canned coconut milk needs to be cold, and luckily, I always keep a can of coconut milk in the fridge in case I want to whip up some whipped cream, so that preparation piece was taken care of and I was all set to try out my ideas and substitutions :).

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The directions are very simple and easy. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. See, can’t get much simpler than that!2015-03-17 17.08.28

Pour the blended mix into an ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer’s directions(mine says to let it churn for 15-20 minutes until it’s thick). If you don’t have an ice cream maker you can freeze the mixture in a covered freezer- safe tupperware or in icecube trays for several hours or overnight. If you freeze it in tupperware, you’ll want to let it thaw for 5+ minutes before trying to scoop it out.

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Optionally stir in dark chocolate chips or carob chips(or just eat it as is, without chocolate) and serve immediately or freeze for later.

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I buy 80% dark chocolate pieces in the bulk section of our health food store and chop them up for treats like this; that percentage of dark chocolate is bitter, but mixed in with cookies or ice cream it’s great(or so I’ve been told since I don’t actually eat chocolate; though I do eat carob).

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This was SO yummy that the children were surprised to learn that I’d colored it with spinach. One point for Mom! 🙂 This made about 3 cups of ice cream which meant all 7 of us each got a couple of scoops. It was gone fast! Enjoy!

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THE RECIPE:

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream-
*serves 6-8

1 can(13.66 fl oz) full fat coconut milk, chilled in fridge overnight
2/3 c Almond Milk
1/2 c spinach
1/3 c pure maple syrup
3 drops peppermint essential oil (or can sub 1/2 tsp peppermint extract)
optional: 1/2 c dark chocolate bits or carob chips

Combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into ice cream maker and process according to manufacturers directions. Stir in chocolate chips and serve immediately or freeze until ready to serve.

*If it’s frozen for more than a couple of hours, you’ll want to allow it to thaw on the counter for a few minutes before trying to scoop.
*Vegan and Paleo friendly

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Filed under Desserts, vegan

St Patrick’s Day: Irish Soda Bread

With it being St. Patrick’s Day tomorrow, I’m doing an earlier post than normal (Monday instead of Wednesday), so that I can share an Irish food my family enjoys. This is a soda bread, meaning baking soda, that we serve along with our dinner of mashed potatoes and peas or broccoli (going with the green theme), a green salad and usually chicken with  gravy(here’s a good homemade, vegan cream of chicken gravy) or chicken fingers.  If we have any leftover bread from dinner, it’s great warmed and served with a little butter and jam on top for breakfast. This is a recipe I got at a church activity and have altered slightly, changing white flour for wheat and spelt, and sugar for honey. Here are your ingredients: Wheat and spelt flour (can sub white for spelt if you don’t have spelt), baking soda, honey, egg, butter, plain yogurt or buttermilk, and raisins.

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Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. If you have a pizza stone, you’ll preheat that as well. If you don’t have a pizza stone, you can use a cookie sheet lined with parchment or greased. Combine  your flour and baking soda with your raisins in a large mixing bowl. Create a well in the middle and add the remaining ingredients:  butter, egg, yogurt and honey.

2015-03-16 09.03.30Stir to combine. I use a big wooden spoon but you could also use a fork or another large spoon. Lay the dough out on a lightly floured board and knead a few times and then pat it together into a circle. It’ll be about 10 inches in diameter.

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Put the bread onto your prepared baking sheet or pizza stone.

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My pizza stone can fit two of these round loaves, so I like to double the recipe and make two at a time, since our family of 7 can go through one of these pretty quick.

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You’ll cook these for about 25-35 minutes(closer to 25 if using a preheated pizza stone), until lightly browned on top and when you knock on it, it’ll have a hollow sound.

2015-03-16 09.42.29You can cut these into wedges,

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or slices.
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Here it is with our festive Irish dinner.

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And then again for breakfast the following morning :). 2015-03-16 09.55.15

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Enjoy!

THE RECIPE:

Irish Soda Bread
*makes one loaf

1 1/2 c whole wheat flour
1 1/2 c spelt flour (or white flour is okay if you don’t have spelt)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 c raisins
2 Tbsp honey
1 egg, beaten
1 c buttermilk or plain yogurt
2 Tbsp melted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, mix together flour and baking soda. Toss in raisins. Make a well and add buttermilk, egg, honey and butter and stir to combine. Turn out on floured surface, and pat into a circle. Cook on pizza stone or on a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

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Filed under Breads

Crock Pot Yogurt

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Plain yogurt is one of those foods that are cool because it has good bacteria for your digestive tract; probiotics with live and active cultures. Before being given this recipe last month, I had made yogurt once before and it didn’t turn out very well and, if I remember correctly, it was quite a bit of work. But when my friend told me that this recipe was simple and easy and that she makes it regularly, I had to give it a try. And I’m so glad I did, because it really is very simple and easy and my family loves the yogurt. We’ve made it several times since.

This is all you’ll need for this recipe: a crock pot, 8 cups of milk (organic if possible), and 1 cup of PLAIN yogurt (do not use flavored; they are filled with sugars and corn syrups ).

The first time I made my own yogurt, I used the Fage plain greek yogurt from costco. After that first time, I stored a cup of the yogurt I made in a covered glass dish to use in my next batch. This makes about 9 cups of yogurt and my family of 7 goes through about a batch a week in our house; granted, we don’t all eat it every day.

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Pour 8 cups of milk in your crock pot. Cover with the lid and cook on low for 2 1/2 hours. I start this process sometime between 3-4 in the afternoon so that when it’s done sterilizing and cooling and it’s ready to ferment, that part can be done over night.

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Once the timer is up, turn off the crock pot and let the warm milk sit for three hours, undisturbed, allowing it to slowly cool. Then whisk in one cup of your starter yogurt/live culture. Put the lid back on the crock pot and wrap it completely with a bath towel. Allow this to sit and ferment over night, or 8 hours.

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Once it’s done with that fermentation process, take the yogurt out and store it in covered containers (I like glass) in your fridge until it’s chilled. If you want it more thick and creamy, like greek yogurt, I found this website that has instructions.

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2015-02-06 07.24.39Be sure you save a cup in a separate container so that you have a starter for your next batch.

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We love to eat our yogurt over granola, with a little honey drizzled over top and some fresh berries. You could also sweeten it with stevia or agave.

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My girls love to have a granola and yogurt parfait for an afternoon snack. Enjoy!

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THE RECIPE:

Crock Pot Yogurt
*Makes about 9 cups

8 c whole milk (organic if you can afford it)
1 c plain yogurt (I started my first batch using Fage Plain Greek yogurt; after my first batch, I always set a cup aside to start my next batch)

Cook milk in a crock pot on low heat for 2 1/2 hours. Turn off the crock pot and leave it sitting for 3 hours. Do not disturb during this period. Whisk in the one cup of plain yogurt. Put the lid back on. Wrap the entire crock pot in a bath towel and leave it for 8 hours. After 8 hours, set one cup aside for your next batch, and enjoy!

Tips:
* I like to put store mine in glass jars and refrigerate at least an hour before serving.
* We love to sweeten our yogurt with honey and it goes great with granola and berries.
*Because the yogurt has to sit for 8 hours, I  usually  start my batch sometime between 3-4 in the afternoon, that way, come 8-9pm, it’s ready to have the yogurt stirred in and then to sit overnight.

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Filed under Breakfast, Snacks/Sides/Appetizers

Whole Wheat Waffles

Sunday mornings are typically the only day in the week when we actually take the time to make a nice breakfast for the family. The other mornings the family takes care of themselves and will eat something simple and fast like toast, yogurt, granola, scrambled eggs (I don’t make them, the kids do :)), green smoothies, peanut butter banana smoothie etc. And when I say ‘nice’ I don’t mean really fancy ‘nice’, but I mean that Scott and I take ten minutes to actually make a batter from scratch and cook it up in the form of pancakes or waffles. Sometimes we’ll do German Pancakes or eggs in a basket but pancakes and waffles are the regulars. We change them up a bit by adding toppings like whipped cream, peanut butter, bananas or other berries.

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You will start off by mixing all your dry ingredients together: whole wheat flour, baking powder and salt. Next you’ll separate your egg white from the yolk, dropping your whites in a glass or metal dish and setting your yolks aside in a bowl to which you’ll add your milk and butter/oil. Beat the whites with your mixer on high until them become light and fluffy. Stir your yolks, milk and butter in with your dry ingredients. IMG_2037

Add that mixture to your egg whites.

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Whisk to combine. 2015-02-21 18.28.18

You’ll want to experiment with how much batter to add to your waffle iron because they’re not all made the same size, but we usually put a little less than 1 c of batter into our waffle iron.

2014-12-28 10.15.20Our waffle iron is non stick so we don’t grease it at all, but follow your manufacturers directions because you might need to grease your iron and it should also tell you how long they should cook. 2015-02-21 18.36.15

This recipe makes about 6 waffles and is easily doubled. I double mine every time. When I double it, I don’t double the butter but rather increase it from 6 Tbsp to an entire stick (8 Tbsp). Everything else I double. 2015-02-21 18.36.43

Serve warm with pure maple syrup, butter, peanut butter, sliced bananas, berries, whipped cream or whatever else you might like. You can keep them warm on a cookie sheet in a 200 degree oven, while you cook up the rest of the batch.

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THE RECIPE:

Whole Wheat Waffles
*makes about 6 waffles

1 1/2 c whole wheat flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 c milk (almond, cows, rice)
2 egg yolks
2 egg whites
6 Tbsp melted butter or coconut oil **

Mix together dry ingredients. Beat egg whites on high until fluffy. Add dry mix to egg whites and whisk together. Cook on preheated waffle iron according to manufacturers directions.

*these freeze well in a gallon ziploc bag and/or are great as leftovers, especially when warmed in a toaster oven so they are a little crispy. In the microwave is good too, but they’re very soft so pick your preference :).

**When we double the recipe, we use 1 stick of butter or 8 Tbsp of coconut oil, rather than doubling the amount

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Filed under Breakfast